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tirer le diable par la queue

The French expression “tirer le diable par la queue” translates literally to “to pull the devil by the tail”.

English meaning:

  • to live hand to mouth

French meaning:

  • vivre sans peu de ressourcesto live with few resources

Example sentence:

  • La réalité c’est que la plupart des américains tirent le diable par la queue : le rêve américain deveint impossible à atteindre. The reality is that the majority of Americans live hand to mouth and that the American dream is becoming impossible to reach.


  • un/une précaire (noun) – person who’s job is unstable
  • précaire (adjective) – unstable, insecure (with regards to jobs and income).

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language learner and speaks over seven languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private lessons. When not teaching or writing his French Word of the Day lessons, David enjoys his time skiing, hiking and mountain biking in Victor, Idaho.

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